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Posts from the ‘Zelkova’ Category

Zelkova layering again

Since one of the two layering attempts turned out so well, and the parent tree was growing so strong, I decided to make another layer, and likely, I’ll just work my way down the trunk making a layer each year, until I hit soil.

Last year’s layer growing out for a year in the ground:

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Next up, May 15:

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By early July, I expected to see roots forming in the medium, but none were to be seen. I opened the bag and saw the zelkova had nearly completely bridged the girdle.

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Using a knife, the cambium/callus tissue was removed back to the wood again:

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And the rooting medium was reapplied…and the wait continues…

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The top was cut back a little at the same time:

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Then suddenly in August….

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All bets are off. What happened? Maybe the callus bridging was keeping the top alive, or maybe the whole tree just dried out, because the whole thing was dead as a post. So much for the plan.

Good news is, the grandparent tree is still going strong. A new goal of mine is to continue comparing the design. Here is a shot from before and after winter pruning:

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Zelkova Layer 2

What popped first after the trunk-chop experiment were buds a little way down the trunk, rather disappointing, then a few began to emerge at the chop from the cambial layer…right where they were supposed to be:

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So, I broke the lower shoots and bent them down to encourage the buds at the top. It worked, and, although I’d like to have a few more breaking at the cut, I suspect more will come in the spring.

Here is a shot from a few weeks later at separation:

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Potting, end of September; enough time to establish roots and harden off before our first frost date in around 6 weeks:

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And finally, a shot with the parent tree that supplied the cutting from which this air-layer developed…a grandfather-grandson shot:

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Zelkova Layer 1

I struck a meager Zelkova cutting in ’09 from a older bonsai on the bench. It was ignored, abused, even moved once or twice…finally it had enough and grew to 12 feet tall last year. This spring I cut it down to get it lower than the fence, and decided to air layer at the “Y”. I took many photos of the whole process, but now I have no clue where they are…so this isn’t a how-to post as much as a what-did post.

The parent:

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The cutting in ’13:

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The layers (April, removed all bark/cambium/xylem/phloem, packed the area with sphagnum moss, and bagged it) in June:

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Then, as an experiment in July, instead of removing the layer when the bag was full of roots, I trunk chopped them to see if I could hasten the growth of new branches to start some broom style trees.

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Checking on the layers in early September, I discovered the left one had bridged and failed:

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Better luck and a wider cut next year.

The right one was going strong, so I opened the bag and packed a little coarse soil around the moss to expand the room for roots to grow a few more weeks before separating at the end of the month:

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Next week, we’ll finish up the project. Going through some old photos, I found this one of the parent tree, from ’02…about 4 years before it was cut down. This angle is approximately the present left.

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